Tag Archives: drinks

Pina Colada

Most people think of Saint Patrick’s day when the 17th of March rolls around but I’m reminded of my older sister, Cynthia’s, wedding anniversary.  Almost 40 years ago I was working in Puerto Rico with Delta Airlines and  being away from home had missed all the wedding planning and preparations.  Unable to leave work until the afternoon of the rehearsal dinner, I flew into Fort Lauderdale in time for the rehearsal dinner after-party which I was hosting.  This was almost 40 years ago, when tropical drinks were thought of as exotic and slightly dangerous.  My post-dinner party was to be a Puerto Rican pina colada celebration and I arrived well prepared.  My suitcase was loaded with small cans of Coco Lopez cream of coconut, a product almost unknown here in south Florida at the time, my blender and a blender I had borrowed from a friend.  I had boarded the flight with two handles of golden Puerto Rican rum…one in each hand.  My only instructions for Mama were to stock up on ice, pineapple juice and limes.  Knowing my flight would touch down at about the same time the dessert course was being served I had told Mama I would take a cab to the house; there was no need to send someone to fetch me.  The taxi driver helped me to the front door with all my goodies.  The house was quiet.  I opened the front door and gaily called out, “Hi, everybody!  I’m home!”  My eyes swept the high ceilinged living room and quickly accessed the mood.   Mercy.   Every guest was sitting quietly…politely…ram rod straight.  I turned to my little brother and sister and murmured their orders.  They understood the tragedy of a flat party and the importance of their chores.  Within minutes we had salsa playing, both blenders whirred away offering up a frosty concoction to the waiting crystal goblets which were whisked out of the kitchen and served to the waiting guests.  My brother Tommy, sister Pamela and I happily buzzed about the kitchen mixing batch after batch of rum drinks while enjoying the laughter, cocktail chatter and music from the rest of the house.  We all had a delightful time.  The following day the weather was glorious, the bride was beautiful and glowing and the wedding was exquisite.  We had done our jobs and done them well.  All these years later I wish you a happy anniversary, Cynthia and Wash!

If you’ve never tried making this cocktail at home you must.  This pina colada may be served over ice or with the ice blended in as with a “slushy”.  Either way you’ll find, unlike many mixed and served in bars, hotels and restaurants, it’s not too sweet and much lighter than the aforementioned drinks.  It is best mixed in your largest pitcher or an empty plastic gallon jug then chilled.  If you plan on serving the iced “slushy” version, pack your blender half full of ice, pour in the already mixed drink then blend until liquified.  This recipe doubles or triples well.  Your cocktail will also inspire tropical trade winds when garnished with fresh pineapple spear.  But beware.  They go down quite easily!

Pina Colada

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • the juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream of coconut
  • 2 cups golden rum
  • 4 cups pineapple juice, canned is fine
  1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a large pitcher and set in the refrigerator to chill until serving.
  2. Just before serving mix again then pour over ice or pour into blender half packed with ice and blend until liquified.
  3. Serve immediately.

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The best Skinny Margarita

Don’t kid yourself for one second about that drink.  Don’t put your tankini away and hang onto that cute, little sundress.  It’s.Still.Summer.  But I know they’re getting a little snug…it may be summer and hot out but we still eat and drink all kinds of no-no’s.  Hot wings, lobster mac ‘n cheese, $12.00 designer cheeseburgers with fries, fried chicken and biscuit all washed down  with anything from ice cold beer to blender drinks with champagne.  We’re all guilty of those indulgences.  Except now we’re back from our marvelous vacations and things are getting tight.  Even your fat shorts can pinch at this point.  I was there and this is why.  I’ve always been a bourbon drinker.  I adore it.  Neat or with rocks I really enjoy my Wild Turkey.  Until one evening when I was pouring my second cocktail of the evening (!) and my husband mentioned in passing, “You’re not going to lose any weight if you keep drinking that.  You might as well sit down with a bowl of ice cream.”  Well.  THAT certainly hit home.  Right then and there I quit the brown.  Several days later I wanted a drink in an awful way.  I decided on a glass of wine.  I’m not a huge fan; I mean, it’s okay, so my reasoning was if I don’t particularly care for it I won’t drink much.  But after a month or so I realized I was downing two glasses a night, sometimes more on weekends.  That’s a lot of wine which translates to a lot of sugar.  Need we be reminded sugar converts to fat?  I might as well have sat down to that bowl of ice cream.  I had gotten bigger than ever.  Men no longer looked at me when I entered a room.  (I had always enjoyed that!)  My face was full, my neck was no longer long and graceful and I had the DREADED belly fat.  I looked like dump.  Realizing I had to make a change was easy and I quietly went about doing so.   A few years back I had tried the counting “points” diet and found it worked on me for only about six months.  I wasn’t about to start that grind again.  We are all fully aware we need a change of diet, practice portion control and exercise.  You have to start somewhere and I knew what I had to do.  I cleared all grains, ALL, from my diet.  Yes, that’s rice, (not easy for this Latina), potatoes, pasta and bread.  I cut out dairy which was not a problem since I had already switched from 2% cow’s milk to organic almond milk for my coffee.  But the cheese!  Oh, how I missed it!  Pizza was a double whammy.  Then I addressed the alcohol quandary.  Bourbon is really not high in calories unless you drink a large amount.  I thought I’d try tequila.  No, wait!  Don’t shut me out!  I, too, couldn’t stand tequila and that turned out to be a large part of my solution.  Many, many years ago while I was working temporary duty for Delta in San Juan I had the worst experience of my life after drinking waaaaaay too much tequila one night.  I puked my guts out.  I puked so hard I cracked a rib.  And to add to my woes I passed out on top of my glasses and cracked them, too.  That was over 35 years ago and I hadn’t had any tequila since that fateful night.  I shudder to think. Bleah.   Anyway, I figured there was probably some great tequila on the market now, smooth and rich, and maybe, just maybe, I could enjoy a bit with lots of fresh lime juice in a pretty glass packed with ice.  And I was right.  The key is in measuring.  You have to measure whatever you’re drinking.  Please believe me when I say you’re pouring a heck of a lot more than you think.  You’ll be surprised if you pour then measure the amount you’re having EVERY NIGHT.  Have one drink…just one.  That’s all you need.  And that’s another thing.  You don’t need it every night.  You don’t.  At the end of the day when you’re ready to rip apart the first person who crosses you, well, fine, if that’s what’s going to keep you out of prison.  Measure two ounces of tequila or vodka, add the juice of one whole lime or, if you’re having vodka add soda, and enjoy.  But if you’re not that stressed remember this.  Once you’ve lost any looks you once had, chances are you ain’t gettin’ them back.  Don’t be so ready to give them up.  Pour yourself a coconut sparkling water, (La Croix is my favorite), and sip on that awhile.  Do yourself an enormous favor and stay away from beer, wine and mixers like tonic or coke.  Your body will thank you and, come Fall, so will your favorite skinny jeans!

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Skinny Margarita

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 ounces of top shelf tequila
  • the juice of one large lime
  • fresh lime wedges, optional
  • ice
  1. Mix the tequila and lime juice in your cocktail glass.
  2. Add a few lime wedges if desired.
  3. Pack cocktail glass with ice, stir to mix and serve.

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Spicy Roasted Tomato Bloody Marys, perfect for the weekend!

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Yes, today is Monday.  The day we dread.  The day that makes us just a tad bit blue around 5:30 p.m. every Sunday.  But I think if we plan for some luxurious, leisurely down time for the upcoming weekend we might be able to stave off some of those crummy, useless feelings.  I look at it as a plan to reward myself for being the best I can be during the week.  At least I start off that way.  Unfortunately by the time Thursday rolls around I’ve had a plethora of, shall we say, unchristian thoughts…and possibly words.  It’s not pretty.  And I’m tired, oh am I tired!  Thursdays try my patience and before I know it I’m questioning my very existence.  Or, at the very least, if my current path in life centers around taking Dad the NYTimes, brown rice, grilled chicken, sweet potato salad, stamps for his letters, bandages, Neosporin and hydrogen peroxide for post-fall cleanups, batteries for his walkman, a ride to the market or simply a visit from daughter #2, me.  I tell myself I am one lucky girl that I can honor my father this way, however, I must admit there are some days, (usually right about Thursday), when I just want my own time…time to read, write or rattle around the kitchen.  Therefore, on this Monday, I mixed up a batch of homemade Spicy Roasted Bloody Marys to show y’all that Sunday Drinkday is merely a snap of the fingers away.  Plum tomatoes are always going on sale; pick them up when they do and allow them to ripen to an intense, vibrant red on your counter.  When you’re ready, roast them off.  At that point the roasted tomatoes may be refrigerated until the time they’re put in the blender with the rest of the ingredients.  I’m not a fan of putting a boatload of meats, cheeses and vegetables in my Bloody Marys.  No okra, bacon, pickles, roasted peppers, carrots, cheese chunks or chicken wings are going to be hanging off the rim of my glass or, worse yet, swimming about the tomato and vodka.  Oh, hell no.  And I have to tell you I’m of the old school in that we only drink Bloodies in the morning, absolutely no later than 2:00 in the afternoon.  In my world drinking Bloodies later than that is just not good form.  So we’ll just keep it between us that this batch, (at 5:51 p.m.) is really, really good.  feel better and when YOU begin to plan your next batch, well, you will, too.  Sunday is just a batch of cocktails away.

Spicy Roasted Tomato Bloody Marys

  • Servings: 4 1/2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 tablespoons celery seed or celery flakes
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 2 pounds ripe plum/Roma tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 good dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • the juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Place celery seed/flakes and sea salt in small food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Pulse only until the ingredients are the texture of granular sugar.  Set aside.
  3. Cut the stem end off of the tomatoes and slice each in half horizontally.  Using your fingers swipe off any seeds.  You don’t have to be exact. Place in a large bowl.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes, scatter salt and pepper over them and, using your hands, toss well until tomatoes are completely covered.
  5. Place on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes.
  6. When tomatoes are finished roasting and cool enough to handle, put in your blender with the following: Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and Sriracha sauce. Blend until smooth.
  7. At this point, the Bloody Mary mix can be covered and stored in the refrigerator until the weekend.
  8. If serving immediately, (and I don’t blame you), run a cut wedge of lime around the  rims of your glasses.
  9. Pour the celery seed/flake and salt mixture into a bowl which is a bit larger than the diameter of your glasses.  Dip the damp rim of each glass into the mixture.
  10. Taking care not to disturb the celery salt, pack each glass with ice and pour in 2-3 ounces, (or more and I’m not judging), of vodka.
  11. Follow with the Spicy Bloody Mary mix.
  12. Garnish with a pretty stalk of celery and lime wedge.  Maybe some green olives on the side.  Maybe.

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Moscow Mules at a Southern Girl’s Weekend

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It had been a really long day. Our flight out of Lauderdale had been delayed for some reason and by the time we picked up the rental at Raleigh Durham airport we were starting to feel it. Jimmy and I are NOT the young, fun people we used to be!! Anyway, we flew up to see James, we scored some great tickets for the UNC-Clemson game on Sunday AND we were staying at my favourite…the Carolina Inn. After we checked in and Jimmy checked his 500 million, trillion, gazillion e-mails we left to get a drink at the hotel bar. As we left the room another young lady was walking thru the hallway. Jimmy gently chided me as I turned and walked in the wrong direction. “Alicia. It’s this way.” “Well, I’m sorry but I was just admiring this pretty lady’s beautiful sweater.” And it WAS gorgeous. It was a lavender cashmere poncho draped over one shoulder and slightly sagging over the other in that casual “je ne sais quoi” sort of way. She wore it over a crisp, white long-sleeved blouse and black skinny jeans tucked into black riding boots. She looked great.  She went her way and we went ours.  We made it to the bar and ordered our highly anticipated cocktails. As we chatted about our day and the past week I noticed a couple of good-looking women come in the bar and sit at a table for maybe eight.  Jimmy and I continued chatting at length, going back and forth, “Is it Goose NECK Park or Goose CREEK Park where we pick up James?”.  Still chatting I noticed another lady come in and join them.  All these good-looking women were meeting here in the bar and it looked like a stellar girl’s weekend was in the making! More sharply dressed women entered the bar and quite a bit more screaming and squealing took place. I was mesmerized.  If by nothing else their jewelry, their scarves and, oh, their boots! Boy, could they accessorize! They called out to each other using the nicknames they had called each other when THEY were at Carolina. I couldn’t stop listening. They chatted about a drink they all loved. It’s called the “Moscow Mule”. Go figure. I was sipping on my second VERY generous double of Wild Turkey, rocks, and tried desperately to remember #1. the name of the drink #2. the ingredients in the drink and #3. all the nicknames of these girly girls. It was wonderful hearing these marvelous, accomplished women laughing and joking, and yes, talking about yesterday but also talking about what they were all doing today. And the nicknames!! I just caught snippets of names and conversation. “Ohmygosh, Tish, you can’t EVEN be serious!”. “Serious about what???”, I thought. “FOX!!! Look at you!!! You’re still gorgeous!”. And she was. With one ear on Jimmy and one ear on the girls I tried to keep the conversations straight. Jimmy finally leaned over and in sotto voce asked, “Are you listening to their conversation?”.  Why, yes.  Yes, I am.  There is just something about best friends getting together that is intoxicating and joyous, liberating and exciting.  I noticed that right then the mysterious well dressed woman with the lavender cashmere had joined them amid more peals of laughter, the tossing of hair and the flash of terrific jewelry.  I felt so happy for them.  They knew the significance of their time together.  They truly appreciated it.  I mustered up a little nerve, easy enough after TWO bourbon doubles, and interrupted them.  I asked if I could take a few quick photos of their table and they graciously agreed and jumped into place.  We laughed more when I asked for all their pet names, like when we got to “Patt” whose real name is so beautiful…Elizabeth!!  They patiently explained that “Tish” was short for Morticia the nickname that was given when the sorority had a Halloween party and they all dressed up as members of the Munster family except Morticia who was really from the Addams Family.  I LOVE minutiae on that level.  I positively put it up high on a pedestal.  They are all Tri Delts except Fox who’s a Pi Phi.  Their houses were across from each other but Fox ran with these girls so she’s an honorary Tri Delt.  I’ve been lucky enough to have been on some outrageously fun girl’s weekend and they are treasured.  They can be with your blood sisters, with your mom, your best friends or sorority sisters.  That’s when all the nicknames come out.  That’s when stories are told of escapades your children will never, EVER hear about.  You’ll talk trash about that boy that broke your heart…or caused you to make the walk of shame.  Alcohol is often the culprit.  But you’ll also catch up on what’s going on NOW in your lives and applaud the successes achieved and the milestones met.  And everyone feels like a goddess after a few cocktails!  Happy weekend, ladies!  Thanks for letting me come along if only for a quick minute!

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This is the recipe for a “Moscow Mule” as told to me by mostly EBird.  She said they have it a lot in Montana so maybe it’s a western cocktail?  She also specified it needs to be served freezing cold so out there it’s served in a copper cup.  I keep thinking about that.  Who’s got a copper cup???  It won’t stop me, tho.  I’ll put it in silver!

Roll call! L-R Morticia, EBird, Tricks, Fox, Patt and Brooke, Trick's daughter.  Not photographed - Disco who showed up later!
Roll call! L-R Morticia, EBird, Tricks, Fox, Patt and Brooke, Trick’s daughter. Not photographed – Disco who showed up later!

Moscow Mule

  • 1/2 part ginger beer
  • 1/2 part vodka
  • lots of fresh lime cut in pieces or wedges
  1. Squeeze juice from lime pieces and drop lime in with juice.
  2. Mix with equal parts of cold ginger beer and vodka, hopefully, vodka from your freezer.
  3. Go easy!!  The ladies said this drink goes down really easy and is a real creeper!!

Classic Rum Punch

It’s been oppressively hot lately and it’s only going to get worse. That’s how we know…it’s hurricane season.   As a child we loved hurricanes. It meant a hotel stay and much less adult supervision. It never, ever occurred to us that we could lose our homes and our safe, sheltered lives. No. It was party time.  When I look back now on those days I have to laugh. My parents would have us doing things like rolling up the Persian rugs and stacking them on the dining room table. Like that’s going to save anything? We lived on the water and the southern wall running the length of the house was all windows.  I don’t know if any of my compatriots had shutters but I know we didn’t.  Mama would hide the silver…she all but buried it in the back yard.  Mind you, she’s from Puerto Rico.  Did she really think Hurricane Sherman would be coming through?  We scurried about busily packing our necessities.  As little girls we packed the essentials…scizzors, paper dolls, coloring books, our favorite baby dolls and a couple of books. As teens we packed a little differently. Latest fashions from Dad’s store, “The Tack Room” and all the make up we owned.  Sometime in the still afternoon dad’s father, Grampa, would call.  The afternoon before a hurricane hits is always creepy-still. Maybe because you know how the violent the winds and waters are going to get.  Grampa lived a few islands away and would predictably call having a complete hissy fit. “Goddamnit, Jack. I need some help over here. I still have to go out for supplies. Where’s Tom?”  Dad’s fine, long fingers would sweep over his already balding head and in a weary voice answer, “Listen, give him a few more minutes here and I’ll send him over.” Grampa always answered the same way, “Right-o”. I was lucky. Grampa, for some unknown reason, liked me. Otherwise he could be mean. Really mean. But he liked me. Eventually Tommy would drive his jeep over to Grampa’s and in his teasing, playful way say, “Grampa! Hey! What’s going on?” Grampa would just glower. “Dammit, let’s go. There’s no time to waste.” And Tommy would always reply, “Sure, Grampa. Where do ya wanna go? Grocery store? Hardware store?” “Crown, goddamnit!! We need to get to Crown’s!” Uh. That’s Crown Liquor.  Crown Liquor Store. And off they’d go to get necessities.  Rum. Good rum. That’s all Grampa needed. No mixers, no ice, no nothing. Rum from the British Virgin Islands. Greater and Lesser Antilles – rum. Leeward and Windward Islands, more rum. Four or five cases later Tommy carried all the liquor in and stacked it outside of Grampa’s bar closet. He would have stored it inside except the bar was packed with rum from all his travels.  Pamela and I often wistfully long for the contents of that ever so magical bar.  Row after row of bottles lined up neatly on self after shelf.  The labels on those bottles were just magnificent!  Some were rustic but beautiful in their simplicity.  Others were opulent with lavish swirls and curlicues.  But they’re gone now.  Pamela and I agree that Dad, who never imbibed much, probably threw them out. I shudder to think.  Anyway, Tommy would head back home after finishing his most important chore where we would be waiting. The house was closed and ready for the big storm. We were leaving for the safety of our hurricane shelter.  Everyone we knew would be there.  The Riverside Hotel.  We laugh now because the Riverside is not only just a mile and half down the road from our houses but it sits directly across the street from the water! Well, we felt safe. After unloading the car I’d sneak whatever alcohol I thought wouldn’t be missed and head out to see who was already there. I’d run into everybody’s parents and try as quickly as possible to wiggle away after the obligatory chit-chat. “Hi, Mrs. Doddridge.  Hi, Mr. Doddridge. Just fine, thank you. And you? Yes, ma’am, they’re here. I think Daddy’s getting their drinks and then they’ll be right down. Good to see y’all, too!”, “they” being my parents. It was a huge hurricane party.  Cynthia would take off to find her friends.  I’d locate bff,  Andrea, we’d pool our purloined booze and settle in with our friends. It was wonderful fun.  Kids ran all over the place and grownups smiled and waved, catching up with each other during this unexpected respite.  The following day everyone packed up, collected their children and made the mile and half journey back home.  And a fun time was had by all!

Dad and Grampa. Hard to believe, but that land behind them is Sunrise Key.

This is a great recipe for Rum Punch. I use it through the year and always Christmas morning. It guarantees that all will get along. Feel free to change the juices to your liking. The original recipe calls for just pineapple juice but I like pineapple-mango mix. An empty plastic water jug is perfect so if you think you’re going to be making this try to remember to keep the top. Make it a day ahead of when it will be served so it has plenty of time to chill. Respect it…it WILL knock you on your tail!

Classic Rum Punch

  • Servings: 1 gallon
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 clean, empty, plastic jug with top
  • 1 liter dark rum, more if you like
  • 1-2 cups good bourbon, I like Wild Turkey or Maker’s Mark
  • 1 46 ounce can pineapple mango juice
  • 1 15 ounce bottle Whiskey Sour mix
  • 2 ounces grenadine
  • orange juice topper, one of those single serving bottles is perfect
  1. Combine all ingredients in jug.
  2. Making sure lid is on tightly, shake well to combine.
  3. Chill overnight in refrigerator.
  4. Right before serving shake jug well.

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